March 2012

Under the Radar, Royally

By: Anthony Dias Blue

Lanson doesn’t come to mind as quickly as many other, better-known houses when champagne is the topic—unless, perhaps, you’re a member of the British royal family. Lanson, which has been sold in London since the early 19th century, was granted a royal warrant by Queen Victoria in 1900 and still provides champagne to Queen Elizabeth II and her court. It has also been the official supplier of bubbly to the monarchs of Spain and Norway and still supplies the royal household of Monaco. 

The royal pedigree is not surprising for a house that was founded in 1760 by François Delamotte (the Lanson name was adopted in 1837, when Jean-Baptiste Lanson assumed control of the company). Lanson is now part of Lanson-BCC, the second biggest champagne group worldwide. The Lanson house style, defined by avoidance of malolactic fermentation, is known for freshness, fruit, power and longevity. This is a champagne that appeals to connoisseurs more than clubsters.

The Lanson portfolio was redesigned in 2008 with a new look that uses a striking red interpretation of the Maltese cross as its logo—a reference to the founder’s youngest son, Nicolas-Louis Delamotte, a Knight of the Order of Malta, who originally adopted the symbol as the company’s crest.

I recently sat down with Paul Beavis, Managing Director of Lanson U.K., and Justin Kleineider, Lanson’s Southern California–based Western Regional Manager, to taste some current releases.

91 Lanson NV Black Label Brut Champagne, France ($40) Fresh and juicy with lively acidity and tangy citrus; elegant, charming and pure with a long, focused finish.

90 Lanson NV Ivory Label Demi-Sec Champagne, France ($40) Smooth, creamy and sweet with good acid structure and a long, lush finish; balanced, fresh and stylish.

93 Lanson NV Rose Label Brut Rosé Champagne, France ($50) Soft and lush with lovely balance and smooth, seductive berry fruit; elegant and seamless; long and charming on the finish.

5 Lanson MV Extra-Age Champagne, France ($100) A new multi-vintage cuvee. Stunning and elegant with a delicate mousse, nuanced fruit, maturity and great depth; an exceptional champagne that is forward and mouth-filling yet refined and precise.

Lanson is imported by Lanson International Americas.

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